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AU Resumes Troops Deployment in Darfur

The African Union (AU) said Saturday it has resumed implementing its troops deployment plan in Sudan's troubled western region of Darfur since Sept. 19.

In a statement issued from the AU headquarters, the pan-African body said the deployment plan in Darfur was suspended after three weeks of "logistical pause" from Aug. 31 to Sept. 18.

On Sept. 2, the AU said in a statement that it has suspended troop deployments in Darfur due to heavy rains and a lack of jet fuel.

"Since then, the third and last battalion from Nigeria and Rwanda, composed respectively of 680 and 538 strong military personnel, have been successfully deployed to Darfur from Sept. 19 to Oct. 5," the statement said.

With the deployment of the third Nigerian and Rwandan battalions, the AU has now completed the deployment of seven full battalions in Darfur, it said.

To complete the strength of the AU peacekeeping force in Darfur, South Africa has been requested to provide the last battalion composed of 538 military men and a reserve company, a light field engineer platoon and an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) section, it added.

South Africa already has 285 military personnel in the AU peacekeeping force in Darfur.

Clashes flared up in Darfur in February 2003 when local farmers took up arms against the government, accusing it of neglecting the barren area. Thousands of people have been killed and over a million were displaced in the violence.

Peace talks between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels are being held in Nigerian capital Abuja, but rounds of talks before have failed to bring real success.

(Xinhua News Agency October 9, 2005)

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